Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Special Privileges for Wal-Mart

Here's what big donations to the Bush White House will get you if you're a family of wealthy parasites from Bentonville who mistreat and underpay their employees:

Wal-Mart Stores, the nation's largest retailer, has agreed to pay $135,540 to settle federal charges that it violated child labor laws in Connecticut, Arkansas and New Hampshire.

Labor Department officials said most of the 24 violations covered by the settlement involved workers under age 18 operating dangerous machinery, including cardboard balers and chain saws. In the agreement, Wal-Mart denied any wrongdoing.

Department officials said that one of the violations was in New Hampshire, three were in Arkansas and 20 were in Connecticut, where the investigation began in 2001. One violation involved a youth who injured his thumb while using a chain saw to cut Christmas trees.

The Labor Department and Wal-Mart signed the agreement on Jan. 6, but made no public announcement. The department disclosed the settlement yesterday after a reporter questioned officials about concerns raised by several department employees that the agreement gave Wal-Mart special favors.

The agreement states, "Compliance with the child labor laws and regulations will be an important factor in evaluating the performance of managers."

A provision also promises to give Wal-Mart 15 days' notice before the Labor Department investigates any other "wage and hour" accusations, like failure to pay minimum wage or overtime.

15 days to promulgate a full-bore coverup, in other words.

I don't shop there. You shouldn't either, and here's a new reason.

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